Home or Lifestyle Changes During COVID-19 & How It Could Impact Your Insurance Policy

Many people have used the COVID-19 pandemic to assess their current living situation. Whether it is finally getting to those home improvement projects, getting out in your yard or garden. Others felt inspired to make some major renovations to their homes. If you fall into this category, clearly you are not the only one making changes as you stood in line outside The Home Depot, Lowes or your local home & garden department store.

If you have made some significant updates to your home this year, it’s important to relay this information to your insurance agent.

Review the scenarios below and reach out to us if you have made any of the following changes:

  • Updated your kitchen or bathroom
  • Added square footage to your home
  • Built a detached structure such as a shop, garage or office
  • Made energy efficient improvements such as solar panels on your roof

Why Do I Need to Share This Information With My Agent?

Any major update you make to your home can impact the current value of your home. If you ever have to experience a home insurance claim, your insurance carrier has an idea how much it will cost to replace what has been damaged. As your agent, we want to make sure your home has an accurate value for your home insurance policy so you can be reimbursed at the appropriate value.

Has COVID-19 caused long term changes to your lifestyle?

With some major companies extending a work from home approach into the fall season or even the remainder of the year, some people may consider finding a way to work from home permanently. If this applies to you, you may want to create a designated home office to work from. Learn how to work from home effectively here.

If you are a small business owner who now is looking to work permanently from home, be sure to let your agent know. Some changes to your home insurance policy may be necessary.

If You Plan To Drive Less, Reach Out To Your Agent

Some people who mainly used their car to commute to and from work, may be finding they are barely using their vehicle. Reach out to your insurance agent to see if can qualify for any auto insurance discounts. Some insurance carriers can provide a discount to individuals who drive less than 10,000 miles a year.

What You Need To Know About Classic Car Insurance

If you are the lucky owner of a classic car, you can appreciate the uniqueness of the vehicle as well as cherish the nostalgia of owning it.

Classic car owners invest in classics for countless reasons. Some, purely because they like older cars versus new ones, others because they want it as an investment.  Regardless of why you choose to have a classic or antique vehicle, we’ll take you through what you need to know and understand about your insurance.

Classic Car Insurance – The basics.

Classic Car Insurance is different from a typical auto insurance policy because its premium is derived from being driven primarily on occasion, not as a daily driver. Some insurance companies specialize in insuring just classic cars and will ask you how often you drive the vehicle and how many miles per year you plan to put on it.

If you plan to use your vehicle for daily driving, you’re probably better off getting a normal auto insurance policy. In fact, many carriers will require that this be a secondary or occasional use vehicle in order to get a policy.

Classic Car Insurance – The Coverage

The biggest difference between a classic car policy and a standard car insurance policy is Agreed Value. Many carriers offer Agreed Value meaning you both “agree” on a value for the vehicle. For instance, if you have a 1965 Mustang, you can choose to insure it for $25,000. The insurance company then produces a price based off of your value. This Agreed Value is typically based off of the cars condition, improvements and other modifications or restorations. Not all 1965 Mustangs are worth $25,000 so your values can vary.

What Cars Qualify as “Classics?”

The definition of a Classic is constantly changing. In fact, some more modern vehicles may be considered classics because they’re “Day One Editions” or other limited production runs. The typical “20 years” doesn’t really apply anymore because not many model year 2000 vehicles are really classics. Your agent can help assist you in finding a policy that’s the right fit.

How Much Is Classic Car Insurance?

Classic Car Insurance is typically less expensive than the standard auto insurance policy. Because the vehicle isn’t driven every day and often time requires that the vehicle be stored inside of a garage – protected.

To find out what coverage might be right for your vehicle or to see if you qualify for a Classic Car Insurance Policy, contact our insurance agency. Our agents can help you identify savings as well as ensure you get the right coverage for your classic auto.

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Now Hiring – Commercial Lines Account Manager

We are hiring! Please spread the word to anyone you might know that is looking for a great opportunity. Insurance experience is a plus, but not a must. Resumes should be sent to [email protected]

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In the Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Adam Heuer elected chair of Nevada Independent Insurance Agents

In this week’s Northern Nevada Business Weekly, President Adam Heuer, CIC elected chairman of Nevada Independent Insurance Agents. Read more below!

Heuer Insurance Agency announced July 24 that company president Adam Heuer has been elected to serve as Chairman for Nevada Independent Insurance Agents.Adam Heuer

NIIA is the Nevada chapter of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA). The IIABA represents a network of over 300,000 agents, with state organizations in all 50 states.

Incorporated in 1916, NIIA members represent over 2,500 statewide individual insurance agents/brokers, customer service representatives and other miscellaneous employees.

Heuer attended Safeco University, a specialized insurance school, and earned his Certified Insurance Counselor designation. Heuer became the fourth-generation owner of Heuer Insurance (founded in 1929) in 2016 when he purchased the business from Larry and Starla Heuer.

He has served on the NIIA board for more than 10 years and also serves on the board of Nevada Young Agents.

How to Lower Your Risk for Summer Insurance Claims

With summer in full swing and some modified socially distant outdoor fun happening, we thought it would be a great time to discuss some common insurance claims that can occur during the summer months and how to protect yourself.

Home Break In

While many families are choosing to stay home this summer versus traveling, some individuals may still travel. If you plan to travel this summer, it is important to know a few things when it comes to keeping your home safe from burglary and theft while you are gone.

Technology – many people have invested in home security devices. This can be great to alert you of any motion detected at your home. These devices are inexpensive and easy for do-it-yourselfers to install themselves. From wireless security cameras to video recording doorbells, you have many choices in the home video surveillance category that did not exist a few years ago.

If you do not have a home security device, you could look to setup some lights on timers. This very inexpensive tool can act like you are home by leaving a light on in a specific room in your home. You can set a timer so the light is on during normal hours in the evening where you normally would be up. Use LED bulbs in your lamps to be efficient.

Friends/Family/Neighbors – If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, consider asking them to keep a watch on your home while you are away. It is always good to notify your close neighbors you know and trust that you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye out for strange activity around your property.  You can also ask a family member or friend to swing by your place for extended trips.

Avoid Posting Social Media While Away – We know many people want to post their vacation photos each day on their social media accounts. However, posting while you are gone does allow people to know you are not home giving potential burglars an easy opportunity to get to your stuff.

BBQ

With COVID-19 motivating more people to stay home this summer, you may find yourself doing a lot more barbecuing. Review these tips below to ensure you are not putting yourself at risk.

  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your home.
  • Keep your grill clean to avoid a grease fire. It’s best to clean it before or after every use.
  • Smell for gas when you are barbecuing. The smell of gas could indicate a leak in your hose or connections.

Boating or Other Vehicle Accidents

The best advice we can give to avoid accidents to keep yourself distraction free while driving your boat, ATV or other vehicle. As a matter of fact, be a defensive driver. Not only should you be alert of your driving but the vehicles near you.

Chipped/Broken Windshields

More people may be on the road during the summer months and that can increase rock chips on your vehicle. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to avoid a rock chip, but there are some things to keep in mind to lower your risk of getting one. Keep your distance between the vehicles in front of you is our best advice. Tailgating increases your chances of a rock flying up and cracking your windshield. Also, be aware of the semi-trucks on the road as these large vehicles tend to kick up more road debris than the average vehicle.

Regardless of your plans this summer we hope you enjoy the summer season! If you have questions about your property insurance or would like more information about having an extra layer of insurance protection with an umbrella insurance policy, reach out to our agents. We are here to help.

Is Earthquake Insurance Required? Learn About The Coverage.

We have all heard of earthquake insurance, but is it required to purchase if you own a home, condo or investment property? The answer is no. However, it is important to keep in mind that your standard home, condo or investment property insurance policy would not be cover you in the event your home was damaged from an earthquake. You would need a specialized insurance policy for earthquake coverage.

Well, what does my home insurance cover then?

Your home insurance policy covers you for many things! In the event your home is damaged from a fire, your policy provides coverage to fix the damage and can replace your personal belongings that were damaged.

If your home is damaged from wind, hail or lightning, you also have coverage.

Your home insurance policy also provides personal liability protection. This gives you coverage for scenarios like someone getting injured on your property or if your dog bites a neighbor. Your home insurance can cover the medical payments for the individual injured too.

Lastly, your home insurance can pay for expenses related to your home not being livable due to the damage. Therefore, the cost of a hotel, food and other living expenses you collect while your home is being repaired can be covered.

How much is earthquake insurance?

Like any insurance policy, it depends on many factors such as where you live, how old your home is, what type of home you own, etc. Talk to one of our agents about getting a free earthquake insurance quote. We can go over your options based on different coverages, then you can decide what policy may suit you best. This is always the best way to determine what earthquake insurance will cost since it is specific to the property being insured.

Know Your Disaster Plan

If an earthquake hits, do you know the safest spots in your home? For an earthquake specifically, where can you drop and cover in each room? Does everyone in your household also know where this is?

Other things that are important to know is how to shut off your utilities such as your gas, water or electricity. It may be important for every household member to know this information. Lastly, it’s important to always have a few emergency staples. Simple items like a fire extinguisher, flashlight, canned food, gloves, a blanket and water can all come in handy in the event a disaster hits.

While you can’t predict when an earthquake will strike, you can be prepared with an earthquake insurance policy as well as a home disaster plan. For an earthquake insurance quote, contact one of our agents.

I Am Moving, But Want To Keep My Current Home As An Investment Property

The process of going from being a homeowner to a real estate investment/landlord is an exciting time. Not only are you working towards creating an extra revenue stream for your income, but you’re investing in what has historically been one of the best places – real estate!

When it comes to investing in real estate and being a landlord there is a lot to know and a lot to consider for liability purposes. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to close the gaps with your insurance on your investment property.

Get a landlord insurance policy

Landlord insurance will insure your Dwelling/rental property as well as offer additional coverage for items stored at the property such as:

  • Additional buildings on premise such as sheds or garages
  • Equipment like tools, washing machines or other appliances used by tenant

In addition to property damage, landlords or rental property owners may also face legal ramifications for events that take place on the property they own. Having additional coverage for Legal Defense may help pay for legal fees from lawsuits like:

  • Libel or slander
  • Accidental Damage
  • Wrongful eviction

Get an umbrella policy, or consider increasing your liability limit on your umbrella policy

Being a landlord comes with an increased liability exposure. You can protect yourself with above and beyond insurance coverage in the form of an umbrella insurance policy to increase your liability limits that you purchase.

Think your liability limits are enough? Take this recent claim settlement:

A renter had notified the landlord that the boiler in the rental property was acting up and the landlord didn’t act quickly enough. Shortly after that call, a toddler severely scalded themselves and required months of painful skin grafts and therapy. The attorney settled with the landlord for the policy limits of $3 million.

Eliminate dangers around the property to limit your exposure

When you’d looking to eliminate liability exposures around a property, check some of these items:

  • Stair railings – check for loose or rotten railings inside and outside of the home
  • Trip hazards – walk the property and eliminate any large edges where someone could fall or trip
  • Swimming pools – if your property has a swimming pool, these pose major dangers to children. Be sure there is a fence with a self-closing gate that locks behind the person entering to stop curious neighborhood children or unattended children from entering the pool.

Owning investment property can be very rewarding, but do be aware of the additional risks there are. Fully eliminating your liability exposures is not ever a possibility, but mitigating your risk is. This is where we can help you come up with a comprehensive insurance package that protects you and your rental property. We would recommend scheduling a time to speak with one of our licensed agents to find you the right coverage and company for your rental property.

To Our Clients and Friends

Heuer Insurance Agency is committed to serving you while also trying to keep our employees, clients, and community safe during this pandemic. Due to the ever-changing environment, we have opted to temporarily re-close our physical office. Our doors are locked but our team is still available to provide you with the same care and service you expect.

You can reach us by phone, email, or text during normal business hours. Most, if not all day to day transactions can be handled this way. If necessary, we can schedule an appointment with a designated meeting space and minimal contact. At this time, face-covering will be required for all in-office meetings.

Please call or text our main number, 775.358.5554 or email us at [email protected] for all your insurance needs during this time.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

National Insurance Awareness Day – June 28th

Consider Sunday, June 28th a day to think about your current insurance policy. While this can be a good time to do annually at your renewal, you may have been thinking about your policy again since COVID-19 hit.

Reach out to your agent.

We can do an in depth review of your current insurance policy based off of your current situation. We can look for any gaps in coverage and explain in detail your limits and what it means.

  • Other things to think of – have you done any home remodeling or have items in your house appreciated? If so, make sure to let us know so your policy is up to date.
  • Will you be making any big changes that may affect the amount of insurance coverage you need?
  • Are you considering other insurance policies?
  • Are you car or home shopping?

Are you a business owner?

Has your business made any changes with added or removed staff, services, products, etc.? Have you moved your business to an at-home business? If so, reach out to us regarding an endorsement so you are covered. Out agents can review your business insurance policy. There are many ways to ensure your business is covered whether it’s through a business owner’s insurance policy, workers comp, cyber liability, general liability and many more options.

Safety measures for your business

Let June 28th be a reminder of all the safety measures your staff should be practicing while at work. This is something your team should do at least once a year. Have can you lower your risk for an injury at work?

Insurance gives you a great sense of security. Whether it’s protecting your assets or your loved ones, let us help you ensure you have the best coverage.

Why working with an Independent Insurance agent matter

Independent Insurance Agents represent multiple top-rated insurance companies. This gives you more choice in coverage, pricing, payment options and discounts when shopping for all of your insurance needs. Not only do independent agents represent better choices, coverage and pricing, they are also a part of your local community which means they understand the unique risks, challenges and companies who have the best pricing in your area.

When you’re looking for insurance for your car, home, business or other product, know that picking an independent insurance agent is the right choice. You’ll get comparative quotes so you can decide which company fits your insurance needs best.

What Should I Know About Dog Bite Insurance Claims?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowner insures paid over $796.8 million as a result of 17,802 dog bite claims in 2019. We would like to briefly go over what happens if your dog were to bite someone and of course, how to prevent a dog bite claim.

What Would Happen If My Dog Bit Someone?

Homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy includes liability coverage which will likely cover you for the damages. Keep in mind, some insurance carriers do not offer liability coverage for specific dog breeds. They also may offer some, but limit the amount of coverage available. Talk to your agent about what breeds may not be covered. If you are not covered, you would have to pay out of pocket for the damages caused by your dog. If your insurance provides coverage it is likely your insurance premium will increase at renewal or you could even be dropped from your insurance carrier.

How to Lower Your Risk for a Dog Bite Claim

Don’t ever assume your dog won’t bite someone.

You can have the sweetest dog on the planet, but you still can’t make the assumption that your dog won’t bite. Watching your dog’s behavior around strangers or even family and friends is crucial. Never leave your dog alone with children who might cause the dog to nip if harassed or injured.

If you adopt a pet, do your research

What should you know about your breed’s common behavior? Ask several questions with the adoption agency. Have they noticed specific behaviors you should be aware of? Understanding what triggers your dog’s aggression or what makes them uncomfortable can save you from a dog bite claim down the road.

Know The Signs Your Dog May Be Uncomfortable, Anxious or Aggressive

Dog bites are common in these scenarios. Dogs may react to such things as taking away their food or a toy or even touching them while eating.

  1. Aggressive
  • Stiff tail, intense stare, growling, hair up on back.
  1. Uncomfortable/anxious
  • Pulled back ears, tucked tail, no eye contact, lowered head or body

Get some training

Whether you are a dog owner or someone who doesn’t own a dog, being around a dog with good behavior is ideal. Obedience training can benefit any dog.

Socialize Your Dog

When your dog is around other dogs and people, it can help them work through any anxieties they may feel.

Be Extra Aware Around Children

This goes back to our number one answer, don’t assume your dog will never bite. If your dog is around children they aren’t familiar with, watch for signs of your dog being uncomfortable.

Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

This can help with a dog’s aggression.

Being a dog owner can bring so much happiness into your life. Use these tips to worry less about your dog biting a loved one or a stranger. For questions about your home or renters insurance policy and what coverages are available for dogs, contact us! We can go over your current policy or even find you a different insurance carrier who may be a more ideal fit for pet ownership.